[INTJ] Decisions - paradoxical indecisiveness

Decisions - paradoxical indecisiveness

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This is a discussion on Decisions - paradoxical indecisiveness within the INTJ Forum - The Scientists forums, part of the NT's Temperament Forum- The Intellects category; I've tested INTJ very many times but continue to find myself questioning whether this is truly my type. Most recently, ...

  1. #1
    Unknown

    Decisions - paradoxical indecisiveness

    I've tested INTJ very many times but continue to find myself questioning whether this is truly my type. Most recently, what I've really been struggling with are the decisions I make and how I make them.

    I find that I often come to a "decision" very early about distant events (eg. where I want to be in 10 years), but between the present and realizing the goal, I often fall into moments of "indecisiveness" during which I feel the need to overanalyze every other option out there. Irony of the situation is, despite the lengthy pro/cons conversations I have, I always fall back to my original decision.

    My tendency to engage in these futile explorations has always made me think that I'm an indecisive person who likes to keep my options open. This, among other tendencies, frequently led me to wonder whether I am an INTP. Especially the many conversations and mental gymnastics where I feel the need to consider new options that have been brought to my attention. But in reality, I've already made my decision a long time ago. Decisions I never deviate from. Perhaps despite the illusionary "open mindedness," I am actually more decisive than I thought?

    Another quality, perhaps more perplexing, is that my tendency to stick with the original decision makes me wonder if I have a preference for the "tried and true," for stability, for the what has happened vs what could happen. Does this make me more of an ISTJ? I am risk averse in my decisions and have a tendency to stick to "my path" - the plans I have laid out for myself very early on. I entertain possibilities but almost never deviate from what I've initially planned -- I am predictable. I can no longer tell whether these decisions are based on "what is known" and past experiences. After all, I have harbored them for so long... Thinking back, I've followed a very traditional path - college, graduation, grad school, job, etc. It was the best way to reach my goal. But was that because I have a preference for the unspoken societal expectations? Or because it is truly the best path? Do some INTJs appear to follow established guidelines simply because they align with the INTJs' values/ideas?

    Perhaps I'm an ISTJ with a preference for finding deeper meaning. Perhaps I'm an INTJ who is risk averse. Or perhaps I'm an INTP with a preference for efficiency and results. I have once again fallen into the INTJ/INTP/ISTJ loop.



  2. #2
    INTJ

    INTJs vary. Some are more Te heavy than others. Presumably those with well developed Te make real time decisions and act on them easier than those with less developed Te. I suspect Ni is involved with far into the future decisions. That's certainly how it works with me.

    There are other reasons for the variation between INTJs. Mbti doesn't describe all. I look to enneagram and character in addition. I happened to meet an INTJ with my identical enneagram (including instinct) with similar character development (and intelligence). It is shocking how much alike 'my twin' and I are.

    INTJs here have been talking recently about adding a fifth letter to INTJ that describes 'assertiveness' vs 'turbulence' (from 16personalities) which is similar to the test for neuroticism on the Big 5 test (I would try these tests if I were you). How someone is in this dimension makes an enormous difference in how they behave. It's the same with other character traits such as maturity and mental strength.

    When I hear that someone is indecisive, the first thing I'd look to is character. I believe it has little to do with mbti type. I don't know if a person who ruminates is somewhat neurotic and/or somewhat lacking in strength but I can tell you from experience that having conviction is a skill that can be learned (I believe character can be developed).

    I have a job where I have incomplete information and I have to make a firm yes/no decision over and over again as incoming information changes. When I began I was awful at this. I mean, rationally, how could anyone be certain in such conditions?! But I learned the value of conviction -- that it's better to be sure and occasionally wrong than never being sure and never make a decision. And really, this is what a lot of life is about; making a decision without complete information. Now indecisiveness in any aspect of my life irritates me. Especially with the clock ticking -- no decision is a decision.

    I am a heavy Te INTJ but it's not clear to me whether I was big Te to begin with (I'm an ENTJish INTJ) or whether my life and my work developed my Te early. There is plenty of information out there on developing Te for INTJs (I suggest you look into this). This is the general advice given to those stuck in an Ni-FI loop. You are certainly coming across as a person who needs to do less thinking and more 'just do it' as you're well aware.

    It is not unusual for an INTJ to get higher education, it is the norm. There is nothing to suggest you are not INTJ.

  3. #3

    Interesting, I was just considering a making post about this in the Ask An INTJ A Question thread.

    I'm just coming out of an Ni-Fi loop in the last few days (This one lasted about a month and a half, but they've been happening on and off the last 6 months. I'm pretty sure it's done for good now.) , and I'm feeling more like myself. In the loop, its nearly impossible to make a decision. It's an endless cycle of entertaining possibilities and indecisiveness, and making a firm decision (or even knowing what to do) feels impossible.

    Now that I'm better, decision making is easy and natural. My old confidence is back, I'm more direct and charismatic, and engaging in the outside world is comfortable.

    With all of that having been said, when I make a decision, it's typically final. (Of course in wiling to re-evaluate under new circumstances or with new information.) Sticking by the decision and rolling with it is effortless. After making a decision, I feel at peace. Actually taking action makes me feel much better than sitting and thinking about it could. I can't overemphasize the inner peace I find when I can make a decision that I'm comfortable with.

    I'm also a lot less risk adverse now, though I'm naturally fairly careful.
    Dare and Therese C thanked this post.

  4. #4
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Honestly, everything you've said sounds like a perfectly normal INTJ to me. Far-forward thinking is very common for us, and to me it does seem easier to make a decision on a long-range basis that is solid enough to stand the test of time. Juggling all the tiny details of the here-and-now, whilst cognizant of the impact of small details, is the fastest way to land myself in a Ni-Fi loop as RexMaximus describes.

    I can't fathom that you could be an ISTJ.....if my ISTJ conducted that amount of introspection and then articulated it that thoroughly, I'd wonder whose Ni he'd stolen!

    P.s. I too crave stability, because it's a little terrifying being able to see all the possibilities of all the cogs in the universe. Being able to pin something--anything!--down is a good thing.
    Figure thanked this post.

  5. #5
    Unknown


    INTJ's are among the most indecisive types, not least. Some INTJ are clearly indecisive, sluggish, and energetically dead, and others appear assertive and confident but, to use your word paradoxically, also indecisive.

    If this makes sense, INTJ can be quite confident in knowledge, the objectivity of a thought, or whether something makes sense but in situations that demand going after something by way of your own physical presence they just don't usually have the level of energy required to do so and tend to fall into a more passive mindset. Decisiveness in a thought or a vision doesn't always translate to actions that are taken as a result of a decision. A lot of INTJ are very sure of what needs to be done, but have this gray cloud of inertia to spearhead the actual activity, arrange logistics, coordinate people, and so on. Our type characteristically struggles to translate vision into a persistent, comprehensive set of concrete actions. Most of the time the root cause is lack of energeticism combined with a more conservative mindset that would rather avoid wasted time or resources.

    ENTJ are opposite of this, in that while they freely act upon information, they rely more on trial and error en masse rather than trying to predict or calculate the single most attainable ends. They're more inclined to try something, take a gamble, see if it works, shrug off the issues it caused, and try something else. I wouldn't say this approach is better, as it makes for a very restless, sometimes even insecure way of approaching life, but it is certainly more proactive.

    ISTJ spend less time trying to imagine what will happen in a future chain of events than INTJ, and more time trying to stabilize their immediate circumstances. They don't deliberately wait for opportunities to ripen in the way INTJ assume life will present to them.

    INTP are fluent enough with Te to know what will "work" and what won't, but their decisions aren't driven by that kind of prospect the way an INTJ's would be. INTJ preoccupy themselves with identifying and advising the future prospect(s) that gives the most profitable end result right now, with the least effort or cost required. INTP are more open to unusual, or exploratory types of projects and usually deal more with schemes, models, and fine tuning ideas rather than trying to predict what delivers right away.
    birdsintrees, Dare, Santa Gloss and 1 others thanked this post.

  6. #6

    @Figure 's response makes me doubt my I over E again but that's a different topic altogether.

    One thing I notice in myself about decisiveness vs indecisiveness is hat it also relates to the people around me. Some people are more emotionally attached to the outcome of a decision and in those cases I will often step back to prevent making a decision that doesn't sit well with other stakeholders. If I'm in a position where I sense that this might be the case but I don't know these other stakeholders very well I can come across indecisive while I am trying to figure out if I can go ahead with my decision making process or if sensitivity is required to maintain whatever relationship is at stake.

    Example: ISFJ partner and I want to order takeaway: I literally do not care what it is as long as it isn't from the local Chinese place. He says he doesn't care as long as I am happy. Experimentation has proven that he actually does care, a great deal more than I, and will spend half an hour analysing why we should have gotten something from somewhere else after we have finished dinner if I force a decision. For me, this is a driver to become indecisive as he is clearly more attached to he outcome than I am.
    Figure thanked this post.


     

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